Last week, both Selma and Kingsburg wrestling teams were victorious in their dual matches at home as both squads are set to battle it out on the mat on Wednesday.
With the matchup taking place at Selma against an improved Kingsburg squad, Bears’ head coach Sam Lopez hopes the rivalry could “get going.”
“Hopefully we could get a nice little rivalry because back in the day this place will have 3,000 people [in the stands] watching duals,” Lopez said. “It’s good for both of the towns to have that little rivalry.”
Lopez alluded to how Vikings’ head coach Bryce Hammond has impacted the wrestling program at Kingsburg in his first two years.
“Kingsburg is doing way better with their program now,” Lopez said. “They've got bodies out, they've got a good coaching staff… they've got Bryce Hammond, who was a great wrestler in college and high school. He’s doing a great job at Kingsburg.”
Hammond expects his team to put up a battle against the No. 2 team in the state.
“Selma is a very good team,” Hammond said. “We’re going out to just compete and wrestling as hard as we can. [They’re] the number two or three in the state and that’s nothing to laugh at.”
Last Wednesday night, Selma defeated Dinuba 45-24 in a dual match at home after wins by Tyler Sepulveda and Robert Areyano put the score out of reach.
“Areyano did a good job of sealing the deal,” Lopez said.
The closest the score ever came was an 18-13 Dinuba lead after Emperors’ heavyweight Turkey Garcia defeated Julian Roque of the Bears in a 5-4 decision. Regular heavyweight wrestler Xavier Moran was not available for Selma, which was the coach’s decision. Luis Ramos, who was slated to wrestle in the 145-pound match, was also out due to nursing a wrist injury.
Roque was promoted from the junior varsity squad since Moran was out. Lopez said Roque battled well in his match.
“He’s not bad, he wrestled well,” Lopez said about Roque. “He’s a 10th grader, he’s real young and he’s got some things to learn, but he should be our heavyweight next year.”
Another wrestler that was promoted to the varsity squad was Rudy Garcia, who defeated Dinuba’s Justin Miramontes in the 170-pound match. Garcia won the match 6-4. Lopez said Garcia could take over the 182-pound spot since Christian Rodriguez is the regular wrestler in the 170-pound weight-class.
After the Bears forfeited the 106-pound match, freshman Richard Figueroa, who normally wrestles in that weight-class, was victorious in the 113 showdown. Figueroa defeated Matthew Montalvo by pinfall.
Lopez said the team started out flat, but the freshman was the spark plug they needed.
“He comes up with the most energy,” he said. “He usually gets the team pumped up. Once Figueroa got out there he kind of ignited some things.”
Last Thursday, Kingsburg defeated Exeter 37-30 after Jonathan Viveros sealed a win for the Vikings with a 9-1 victory over Erik Olea in the 128-pound match. Before Viveros’ win, Kingsburg was down 27-30. The rest of the Vikings’ points come on Exeter forfeiting the 132-pound match.
“Jonathan probably looked the best out of everybody,” Hammond said.
Kingsburg started off with Noah and Xavier Jimenez losing by pinfalls in the 138- and 145-pound matches that got the Vikings down 12-0. After wins by Dustin Manfred (152 pounds), Brandon Rocha (160) and Alfred Carpenter (170), Kingsburg tied it up at 12. Manfred won in a 4-2 decision, Rocha won by pinfall and Carpenter was victorious in a 16-10 final.
Rocha’s win by pinfall cut the Vikings’ deficit to 12-9.
“He got us back in it for sure,” Hammond said about Rocha. “He was one of the guys that he knew he had to come out and get bonus points for the team and he did it.”
After a win by Kingsburg’s Bo Jackson in the 182-pound match, Dylan Stockton and Ty Lewis lost in the 195-pound and heavyweight matches. Stockton lost 8-4 and Lewis lost 1-0 in quadruple overtime.
Josh Longoria was also victorious over Exeter ‘s Isaiah Ayon in the 106-pound match. After, Vikings’ wrestlers Josh Tartaglia and Judith Reyes lost in the 115- and 120-pound matches.
Both Selma and Kingsburg teams were set to wrestle against each other on Wednesday, Jan. 24.
“It’ll be fun, I’m sure,” Hammond said. “They've got rowdy fans, we have rowdy fans.”